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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bone Machine-- A Joe Donovan thriller

Go to the web address below. The author of Bone Machine, Martyn Waites, will tell you about this wonderful novel which I borrowed from the Martin Luther King Library in Tacoma.
http://www.gregoryandcompany.co.uk/pages/authors/audio-and-video.asp?AuthorID=45&FirstName=Martyn&LastName=Waites&TitleID=601&MediaType=Video

I spent many, many very reflective hours reading this thriller. Why? The author's description of the inner conflicts many of the characters he described empowered me to look at my own hurts and hopes, doubts, concerns, losses, and (thank You, my sweet Lord) friends--- the sunny days and rain filled moments of my life.


I have gotten used to moving through life in an unreal way... walking confidently along life's well lit comfortable pathways and avoiding the dark, narrow streets that are part and parcel of day to day life: confusion, miscommunication, anger, failure, serious and terminal illness.


Martyn Waites' hero, Joe Donovan, has to choose life when his child has been kidnapped, his wife has left him, he has chosen to drink excessively, and he has tried one time to kill himself. Then, because he is a courageous and brilliant investigator, he is asked to find out why other people have disappeared or been killed.
Like many of us, he has to wake up daily, face his own inner demons again, and help others to courageously face the challenges of their own lives.

Bone Machine will offer you a chance to cuddle up with a novel which will hold your attention and, perhaps, take a gentle, tough look at your own weaknesses and strengths.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

South Tacoma Farmer's Market A Winner! Please Support!


Today was my first visit to the South Tacoma Farmer's Market. 

I loved it.

I am in University Place and it was a quick trip down South 56th. Parking was super easy and ample. The market was larger than I expected, but what I really dug was that there was such a laid back, chill, Sunday feel. There were quite a few vendors that I've seen at my other markets that I attend. That was nice and familiar. However, I found a couple of new vendors that I was really excited about. Lucky Pig Farms had a charming mom and son team and I got farm fresh eggs and chicken breast from them. I overheard the farmer speak of letting the farm animals do their natural behaviors and have plenty of access to fresh air and land; most particularly, I enjoyed hearing the story of  how the pigs romped in the mud yesterday. I don't consume meat, but my family does and I liked the attitude and respect of Lucky Pig Farms. I also enjoyed the kindly vendors at Northern Fish Company. I got the "salmon candy" sample for my husband which he loved. We rounded out our purchases with fresh asparagus and raspberries. Delicious!

And what I think is even more delicious is the fact that this part of Tacoma has a little treasure like this. It's good for the area, good for the local businesses, and good for the farmer's market process as a whole. Being on a Sunday, this helps accessibility. Tacoma folk and beyond: PLEASE visit this market. Let it thrive. It's good for all of us.

Sweet Sister Sunday

It was a slow and quiet Sunday morning. My body, well-practiced in the art of tea-making, ran on automatic pilot and soon, a cuppa was in hand and computer turned on. I wasn't in any sort of work mode so my eyes easily wandered out the window, to the hummingbirds, then past, to the black-headed grosbeaks on the feeder. The blackberry is in its white bloom and beyond, the maple saplings waved gently in a breeze lazier than me. Quilted sky stayed up atop the spikes of evergreens on the eastern ridge. I never tire of this view, this continuous rhythm of earth, sea and sky changing patterns, laid out for us here in Joe's Bay.

Often this kind of reverie will lead me to turn the computer off again, so that I may learn more of what goes on in the natural world, but a little flashing blue bar on the bottom of the monitor caught my eye. It was one of my sisters, buzzing in on the IM. With a mousie-click I was able to say good morning (though it was almost afternoon in Toronto) to a sis I haven't been able to hug in nearly five years. Of course I always worry if it's bad news, with both my parents elderly and me being unable to fly to Ontario. Two of my three sisters live close to my folks, and the third is there in Toronto to help them for a month. She lives in France...twenty years since we last hugged, in England.

On a silvery Sunday morning I accepted a video call and was suddenly, deliciously, looking at all three of my beautiful sisters. I had to fight for a moment, not to leak with the fullness! They all looked so good, looked even younger than me, and I'm the baby! Yes, we discussed how my parents were doing but we also just fell into the banter and foolishness of sisters, ageless too in its rhythm and patterns. My eldest sister and I 'touched' hands on the camera lenses, knowing that we couldn't help each others situations but we could and always would love and support one another.

So today, though my peace is always in the garden, my joy was in a technology that could disappear thousands of miles. Today I had a morning tea party with my beautiful sisters and, though some discussion was not easy, there was also time to play. Wicked little sister that I am...I took out my camera and fooled them into trying the "Charlie's Angels" type of pose. Wicked, wicked little sister, I post the picture!



Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday's Taste of Tacoma: A Whirlwind Tour!



My kids and I made a trip (due to our schedule, a quick one) to the EQC Taste of Tacoma early this afternoon. Despite the thick gray clouds that hung low and heavy over Point Defiance Park, I thought there was a decent sized crowd. Surprisingly, I got pretty good  parking in a nearby neighborhood which was a lucky break (sorry event folks, but I will NOT pay $10 for parking for this event). After a short jaunt, we headed straight for food tickets. Swell deal on that: for $15 I got $20 worth of food tickets (today's special)  to redeem at the vendors. It was the PERFECT amount for our little family of three (that covered three meals and beverages).

I opted for a vegetarian gyro (not bad, more robust than what I have had in the past). My children claimed in the car that they wanted to try something new, exciting, different. So, they noshed on cheese and pepperoni pizza slices. Ah well, what can you do? They liked their slices but hated the Jones Soda I picked for them (berry flavored). They tried to pawn it off on me, but I don't like or drink soda, so that part was a bust.

Speaking of bust, there's the whole carnival thing. I don't like these. I know many of you do (the Thompson children certainly do), but I find them lame and a waste of $$$$. But the kids really wanted to, so we did it, but I gave them a strict budget. My son won a bunch of cheap toys playing games, my daughter covered herself in cotton candy, and we stuck to our little budget, so I wasn't grumpy. Neither kids wanted to do rides (thank goodness). They seemed like they wanted to walk around and people watch more, which, hey, is my favorite sport.

We wandered through a few of the vendors (tie-dyed clothes, henna body art, and other kitsch) dominated the spot we saw by the carnival area (didn't see the other stuff up by the food vendors as we ran out of time). My husband wants to go back tomorrow for lumpia. I just learned what that was--may have to give it a go, if it comes my signature veggie style.

Speaking of signature foods, what do you like to eat at the Taste? What don't you like?

Bon appetit! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

One Quick Critique: The 6th Ave. Farmer's Market!



I've been attending our Tacoma (and surrounding areas) farmer's markets for years. I love 'em! I love the colors of the produce and the flowers, the smell of the city mixed with the farm, people watching and community spirit. And as with my farmer's market visiting traditions, I love to write little reviews of my market experiences each year. I am kicking it off with the Tacoma 6th Ave. Farmer's Market that take place on late Tuesday afternoons at 6th Ave. and Pine Street. I've been to this market three times so far this season. I've been to Proctor's market once (want to go again on Saturday before I review it), haven't been downtown at all (Thursdays are rough days for me) and missed the grand opening of the South Tacoma market (due to the high drama of a dead rat, Father's Day visits, and pouring rain--long stories). So, 6th Ave. has become my market haunt thus far and it's a winner.

Honestly, the reason I love this market so much is I just love going to the 6th Ave. neighborhood PERIOD. I love this business district that houses some pretty cool stuff to see and do and some of the best restaurants in the city hands down. I also like the diversity of the market patrons: your eclectic beat to your own drummers, eco-lovers, families, couples, urban hipsters, young, old, dog walkers, artsy folk, and foodies. And everyone and everyone! It's all good.

And what else is good is that you have your usual farmer's market style (which I think has grown a bit in vendors this year): produce, plants, meats, seafood, dairy, baked goods, flowers, beverages, honey/spices, treats, info booths, arts and crafts. Personally, I go right for the food and stay with that. I am armed with my list and my insulated large tote. My goal is to get an entire meal, for a family of four (with perhaps an appetizer thrown in or a dessert treat now and again). I always succeed. Fresh, delicious organic foods, plus eating generous samples, and chatting it up with the vendors is a treat. I walk away feeling like I've learned something each time. While some things are a little more expensive, I've noticed that a lot of things are pretty darn close or the same as the grocery store. Even though 6th Ave. to me, seems like a small to medium sized market, I feel plenty of variety of vendors to boot to compare and learn about.

And speaking of vendors, here are some of my faves (not in any special order): Gageby Farms, Blue Rose Dairy, Terries Berries, Tahoma Farms, Willapa Hills Farmstead Cheese, and For The Love of Spice (for more info on these vendors and many others, check out the 6th Ave. Market website from the link above!). My eight year old daughter that comes with me likes these vendors too. In fact she LOVES the market. As of today, I thought she was really getting into the local food movement, organic food, and all the great concepts of being part of the community farmer's market.

Nah. She totally digs one vendor: Donut Junkie. Go figure!

And go marketing South Sound!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Glass Key-- A Study In Evil

A power hungry politician (Brian Donlevy)is falsely accused by a greedy gangster (Joseph Calleia) of killing the son of a very wealthy man who is running for governor. Donlevy wants to marry the sister (Veronica Lake) of the dead man so, for some strange reason, he chooses not to respond to respond to the accusations being made against him which are appearing daily in the city newspaper. Donlevy's right had man and friend (Alan Ladd) does not believe he committed the murder. Thinking the greedy gangster is setting his friend up, Alan Ladd tries to get a job working for the gangster.

The gangster does not believe that Alan Ladd would betray Brian Donlevy so he orders one of his henchmen (William Bendix) torture Ladd to get information on what steps Donlevy is taking to prove that he did not commit murder.

The questions I had as I watched this excellent 1942 video recording which can be found at Tacoma's Main Library are: who killed the wealthy man's son; why was he killed; will Veronica Lake marry Brian Donlevy...
This film is easily a two bags of popcorn delight. Check out one of the very exciting moments of the film below.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bullies Nearly Sully Disabled Child's Sunny Weekend

Like many 11 year old boys, my son loves to ride his bike. He loves the freedom of the road, the challenge of finding cool neighborhood bike routes, and the wind in his face. Biking is his ultimate freedom . And that freedom includes neighborhood rides to the sports card and memorabilia shop and the local park. Great exercise, exploring one's community, and catching some sunshine was the goal for Saturday, isn't that enough? 


Apparently, for some bullies in a car, it was not enough. 


As my son waited on his bike at the light on a busy street close to our home, some teen boys in a car yelled at my son, called him names, and pelted melted cupcakes at him. 


What were those kids thinking? I think I know. I suspect it went something like this: "Hey, see the fat kid up there on the bike? Let's throw this at him. It'll be funny!" (Or something said far cruder, I imagine). 


The cupcakes were thrown at my son's face, but he blocked the throws and it splattered over his favorite t-shirt and shorts, his right arm, socks, and shoes. The perpetrators drove off instantly. My son was humiliated and upset. He called home on his cell phone (yes, he has one, a move that at first we thought was crazy to do for someone this age, but now take great comfort in the fact that he has one). He told his dad what happened. My husband jumped in our car immediately and drove the few blocks away to get our son. After loading up the bike and our son, they drove to get my daughter and I, who happened to be out on a neighborhood walk at the time, to tell us what happened.


And what happened would upset any child, but my son is not any child. He is on the autistic spectrum  (high functioning) with some added conditions. Life is not easy for my child. The fact that he can even ride a bike (despite some impaired fine and gross motor skills) is a big deal. He's worked hard, despite huge challenges to earn his independence on his bike. He has to work harder, plan further, and deal with some issues that no child should ever have to deal with. While he is a big kid, medications to treat his conditions, pack on weight, something he struggles with every single day. The hardest part of it all and the most difficult to stomach, is that my son has been the survivor of bullying in the school system and elsewhere multiple times. He dealt with the following: being called dumb, slow, weird, disturbed, and fat. Some of these cruel peers from his mid-elementary school days, did receive punishment for their poor behavior. Most didn't. I even had some of them do this right in front of ME, in a bold and uncaring move. Even adults in my community, who were either unwilling or unable to have understanding, said inappropriate comments within an earshot of my child. Each day is work for my son. Each day is work for our family. Each day presents challenges. 


And now this. 


But there is a good news story in all of this. Really. 


After being very upset when my son returned home, he did something rather unexpected. He handled the situation very maturely and wisely. He said, "I am mad about this, but I am sad, too." He remained calm, despite it all. In the past, my husband and I would have expected a tantrum, tears, depression, and/or anger due to his conditions. Not here. Although he did say, "I don't think I want to ride my bike anymore." It was then, that as parents, our hearts got crushed. My husband was even reduced to tears when our son had left the room, he was so shaken. We were so angry, sad, and disappointed. We wished we would have caught the horrid people that did this and had a word with them. We wished life wasn't so unfair. We wished, since that this happened on a busy street, that some caring adult would have stopped to help, offer a kind word, or something. This did not happen. Nothing happened but injustice and cruelty. And even though we worked hard to show love, kindness, and support to our son for the rest of the evening, it was still hard to breathe and think. We wondered if this would be a big setback for him and this worried us to no end.


But it was this 11 year old,  developmentally and learning disabled child that turned it around in less than a day. 


First thing this morning, my son declared, "I am going to be riding my bike A LOT." And this is what he did! He went out on ride after ride, stopping back at home to refuel with food, water, rest,  love, and support. And time after time, we sent him back out again as he wished, seeing a boy more and more restored. He returned more and more tired, thirsty, and sweaty, but triumphant. It was pure joy to see this strength of purpose and sense of being.


You see, he took back HIS community. He took back HIS streets. He took back HIS freedom and fun. He took back the fact that despite disabilities, he had the RIGHT to live his life. And he taught us to do the very same in the face of adversity. 


So, to the punks that assaulted my son: you LOST. To the adults in my community: if you are a parent, grandparent, relative, neighbor or someone who cares about children, what can you do to break the cycle of bullying for any child? How can you stand up to adversity on behalf of children? How can you send a message of love, and understanding? These questions should be treated, just like the boy who wouldn't stop riding. Keep riding, keep going, and keep going strong. 


Thanks, Son. 


Reader's note: this piece also appeared on Gritty City Woman and the national blog, Autism Sucks, a safe place for families to vent, share, and learn. For those of you who have autism in your family, please check this blog out. For those of you who are not touched by autism, but want to get a peek inside my communities world, it's worth a look.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sound to Narrows Runners: Race of the Brave


Today, marks the 2010 Sound to Narrows running race in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park and surrounding neighborhood.

With calm weather conditions and mostly sunny skies this morning, I am sure the race will gain some late entrants eager to challenge the 7 and 1/2 mile race. Of course, one must be able to run the distance. Or be out of their minds. My hubby is on his way to run the race now. I have friends running, too. I wish them the best as they tackle the terrain and plow their way to the finish up the killer hill at the end. I will celebrate with them post-race with hearty food and a well earned beer. I am happy for the runners that love the challenge, but....

I hate this race.

I mean I really, really HATE this race. I've done it periodically over the years and well, it's pretty much worn me down and attempted to kill me.

One year, I twisted my ankle right before the awful Vassault street hill. So, being very young, very stupid, and full of pride, I ran on it all the way in. My ankle was the size of my head when I finished and that turned into a three week recovery. I've blistered my foot so badly in one race that it requires a doctor's appointment. I ran it one year with a cold and got a nasty asthma attack during the race. Once in my twenties, being an avid mountain bike and distance bike rider, decided to run it with very little running practice before. I thought this would be smart and cool to brag about. I don't think I could move comfortably for a week without wincing and cursing in pain. And about that wincing.... Then there's the terrain--I shutter.

The gradual uphill (change that: LONG gradual uphill) at the beginning of the race wears me out (of course, I tend to be a race horse at the start of any race and pay for it the end). The twisting and turning through five mile drive seems endless. And then there's Vassault hill, the last stand. For about a mile and a half. Hell.

Have I scared anyone yet? Probably not. Not the thousands that flock to the race to run or walk. Not to the cheering crowds or neighbors spraying their sprinklers for the runners. This race is an institution (since 1973!). Now I could tell you that I'll NEVER, NEVER do this race again. But I suspect, before I need to hang up my running shoes forever, it will beckon me back for one more turn.

I hope I can exact my revenge.

In the meantime, enjoy runners. You worked hard for this. Soak it in, soak up the sun, and run your buns off.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Words & Music: Part IV Randall Platt and Larry Murante

The big star of last Saturday was, of course, the buffed-bright sun, making a rather late and longed-for appearance in Southern Puget Sound. The Olympic Mountains, purple with an icing drizzle of snow, etched jagged lines between the silver of clouds and Case Inlet, while we blinking mossbacks collected on the deck of Jerry and Pamela Libstaff's beautiful home, just before showtime.

It takes strength in performance to turn the setting sun into a back-drop instead of the main show around here this year. Luckily, author Randall Platt and singer/songwriter Larry Murante had that strength by the silver-and-gold, words-and-music bucketful! Tweed Meyer brought her bucketful of pencils, paints, light and magic to do her own two-thousand words inside portraits of these artists. Enter the audience and all elements came together.

Randall Platt ( www.plattbooks.com ) writes young adult and adult fiction and is so inspiring, both in her work ethic and her bliss. Within thirty seconds of her speaking, I found myself wishing for a daily dose of her happily enthusiastic backside-kicking! Randall's line of, "How long ya gonna live??" pushed at my procrastination envelope, and is now written in my journal. Give me honesty when we're between these sheets, please!

Ms. Platt is a mindful writer and motivational speaker, drawing the audience fully into the evening by first linking her talk with the music half of the program to come. She told us about how the soundtracks of old movies and TV shows really affected her, and has led to her habit of making soundtracks for each new writing project she begins. Everyone can relate to songs as time machines, and Randall uses them well. Her respect for songwriting was genuine...and appreciated.

She read to us from her newest young adult's historical fiction, "Hellie Jondoe," taking us back to a time in America when there were hundreds of thousands of orphans (1854-1929) shipped west, from the crowded eastern cities. War, poverty, and events like the pandemic flu of 1918, left so many children behind to wander the streets. This program was hopeful for adoption, rather than building more institutions. Truth was, working hands were needed and many children were made indentured servants, rather than being adopted into families.

Randall's heroine, Hellie Jondoe, is one of these orphans...a street-wise urchin. I found myself having a real soft spot for her, before chapter's end. Characters come to life within Randall's writing, special attention given to dialogue, and Randall Platt as actress came out in her reading for us. Her accents were great and her animation pulled us into the story. Like her wee heroine, Randall was a powerhouse of "CAN DO!" as she sat silhouetted against liquid silver.

Here I have to show a close-up of Tweed's portrait, done as Randall was speaking. It really amazed me to find tiny musical notes, lines and symbols in Ms. Platt's lips. Tweed doesn't even know music in a technical sense, yet her hands intuitively expressed Randall's performance. Tweed and the audience was primed and open. As the sun began to smolder, it was time for Larry Murante to pick up his guitar and play into the sunset for us.

His smile is the first thing to reach you, with a megawatt joy of muse and craft shining from his eyes. Then it's his voice, sometimes ringing, sometimes soft, but always warm and round in tone, with wonderful range. When Larry hit those delicious high notes, the hair on the back of my neck rose. When he belted out a line you knew could have reached the back of a hall, he had the control not to let it overwhelm this smaller venue.

The beauty of an intimate house concert is that you can mingle and talk with the performers, getting to know them just a little more. Here it must be said, I found Larry Murante to be a gentle man who walks in the service of Love. You could see it in the way he curls over his guitar and humbly towards the audience. You could hear it in his lyrics and melodies. He was definitely a natural to win (along with a co-writer) the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. His lyrics and rhymes are simply fresh, his story-telling intimate and engaging, his playing rhythmic and full. He made me want to sing harmony and he made Tweed start to dance at her easel. The lowering sun pouring gold through air, water, and onto the wood of Larry's guitar, Tweed's pastels catching it for us.

I could happily wax poetic about each of his songs, but perhaps it's better for you to take the journey yourself. Check out his website www.larrymurante.com and his 2009 album, "Point of Entry" for a great mix of Folk-Pop, Americana, and even Jazz! A simple line from the title song sums up the night for me.

"If you give the world outside a point of entry...it'll give back to you."

As Larry finished to a standing ovation, the sun took its final curtain call and the world caught fire before nightfall. Two local, large talents and heavenly, special effects lighting in silver and gold for June's "Words & Music" out here on the happening Key...ooh-la, what a night it was!
Sing us out please Larry....



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

South Sounders Taking Action: Local Animal Neglect/Abuse Case




One of the great privileges of living in the South Sound, specifically Pierce County, Washington is that I bear witness, on almost a daily basis, to the kindness, compassion, and advocacy of my fellow citizens. Whether they are an average person (like me), someone in the mix of working the day to day operations of solving problems, or an elected official, I get the sense (and see the evidence) that we are all in this together and we want to help. Such is the case in the recent seizure of over 70 animals from an Eatonville, WA residence that were horribly neglected and living in very poor conditions.
Upon seeing this story on the front page of The News Tribune, citizens and other groups offered to help  these animals (which ranged from domesticated pets, like dogs and cats to farm animals). I, myself, was moved into action. Personally speaking, I was particularly on fire to help due to some articles and viral Facebook posts, videos, and e-mails on some very recent and horrific national animal abuse/neglect cases. But I was particularly passionate to get involved with this story due to the simple fact that this incident was in my own backyard.
So, I decided to send an e-mail to the Pierce County Auditor’s office (where Animal Services resides) to ask what I can do to be of assistance. I am glad I did.
I heard back from Pierce County Auditor, Julie Anderson, herself, along with Tim Anderson, Animal Services Manager. In light of the fact that I knew this was a busy office with many responsibilities, I was surprised (and delighted) that I received a prompt and thoughtful response. What was clear to me, is the that Animal Services team led to by our Auditor, care about the welfare of the animals and are working as quickly and diligently as possible to address the injustices to the animals and to ensure the animals are safe, secure, cared for, and receiving treatment to restore their health.  And I was impressed by the fact, though they are working with legal confinements and limited budgetary resources, they are energetic to engage new ideas and processes and to remain vigilant to protect animals. I also liked  that they appreciated citizen input and involvement. Along with our officials,  I love the fact that animal organizations locally have stepped up to the plate help. This is a good news story, as I’ve said, and will reiterate again, that Pierce County residents have good hearts and can (and do!) work together.
More good news. The animals that were taken from the property are all receiving the care that they require in safe facilities. As the case unfolds, I suspect that in the end, many of the animals will be able to be adopted by loving people in our community. We shall see; but I am confident this case will close peacefully and appropriately. I am also confident, readers, that this is just the beginning of more animal advocacy, discussion, and education in our community. Wouldn’t you agree?
In the meantime, in response to the public's desire to help, the Auditor encouraged people to make donations to the following organizations:

Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County
2608 Center St.
Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 383-2733
www.thehumanesociety.org/

Ripley's Horse Aid Foundation
1530 William Way #204
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 424-8250
www.freewebs.com/rhaf/

Pierce County Animal Control
2401 South 35th St., Room 200
Tacoma WA 98409-7483
(253) 798-PETS

I'll be making my donation today.

Update, June 9th:  The TNT's Kathleen Merryman has a column that appears this morning about this neglect case and the issue of animal hoarding. This is a good piece with sound tips. It also gives illustration of who we can move forward to fix the problem and shortened response time. Check it out HERE.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

South Sound Staycations--Tell Me Your Thoughts



My family never travels outside Washington during the summer. When the weather is summer PERFECT (recent weather aside) there is no better place to be: HOME. Puget Sound. Festivals, activities, outdoors....It reinforces why I love to live here.

Now summer is nearly here (spring slipped away in the night, or the rain, really!) and we are NOT as organized as we like. Sure, we know the local activities we love, but we aren't really planned out and are always looking for new things (and cheap and free also works well too!). So, tell me: what do you like to do in the South Sound in the summer? What is the summer activity that makes home great? I am reaching for fresh ideas and discussion.  Thank you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Lite and Other Weather Survival Strategies

I used to get so irritated when movies or television shows that are set in Washington State depict their scenes with abnormally heavy rain and constant fog or ominous cloud cover. Then there are the folks who DON'T live here that ask about the rain. All the time. Sigh.

I always used to think this: Hey, it's not like THAT all the time!

Yet, lately it IS here, in Grit City. 


The rain has come down hard and constant like being in a cold shower. The grayness is extra thick and impermeable. Everything is damp, muddy, moldy, and rusty. Especially the people who live here! I remarked yesterday on my Facebook status that it was 8:00 AM PST and all the blinds were drawn open so the light could pour in. My nightlights in the house STAYED ON. A good chunk of the day for that matter.

I am full blown weather weary. It's June for goodness sake. Everyone is complaining here, not just me. We are tired, lackluster, and mild cranky. So, I took steps to mitigate the effects of the weather.

I bought these (and wore this color in my outfit!):



I got this for strength:

Now when this didn't work, I added this in:


Then it was the final straw (and after a couple glasses of wine), I broke out the big guns and I bought the Happy Lite. It's a lighting system that is supposed to help people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and simulate sunshine, lightness, and brightness in your home.

I suspect it's merely an overpriced lamp.

What are your tricks for getting through stretches of wretched weather?